We will be visiting the arcadia region of Maine the last week of July 2015. We are renting a house on an out lying lake, and are looking for a good deal on renting a couple of kayaks for the week. We will be celebrating our mother’s 80th birthday, so I am especially looking for at least one of them to be a tandem. Any advice, suggestions, even recommendations on the area, attractions. Things to do, and things to avoid would be welcomed. Thanks to all of you for making this a great page.
Do you mean
Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island?
On Long Pond
There are tours in Frenchman Bay.
Other rentals include
There are a couple of places in BH too.
You might want to stay on lakes. If you dump your 80 year old family member into the 45 degree ocean you may have a problem. Do you have drysuits?
If not and she is interested there are tours in tandem kayaks on Frenchmans Bay out of Bar Harbor that are kind of neat.. Be assured that by staying on lakes you wont run out of things to do.. Pretty Marsh is awesome as well as Long Pond itself( which is five miles long) also Seal Cove Pond and Eagle Lake. By staying on lakes you dont have to figure out the twelve foot tides that can leave you wallowing in mud.
BTW there is no R in Acadia.
I admit to being partial to leaving NE harbor and paddling to Baker Island and around Greening. thats a long day though
More of above
Long Pond rentals - My recollection is that they give you a cart and you have to walk your rental boat across the road to Long Pond. But they have a good sized fleet of serviceable boats that will get you around the pond. Note that Long Pond is pretty much all privately owned shoreline. If you want to eat lakeside as part of the trip, plan to bring a bagged lunch and be back at the launch point to enjoy it.
Second third and so on the suggestion to go with a guided tour for anything salty. That tide can give people unpleasant surprises even if no major events occur. In Bar Harbor proper, there is a sand bar that hides at half tide, but at low tide is so exposed that you have a choice between a paddle out around an island or a hellacious carry to get back near the car.
Parking is very tight in summer at a lot of the launch points on Mt Desert Isle. And you need to be cognizant of the needs of the working boats. A decent guided tour will have been planned around that so you can just kick back and enjoy the paddle rather than having to spend half your precious time trying to figure out launching and returning yourself.
You will need to make reservations for dinner in Bar Harbor itself... and for that kind of civilization Bar Harbor is about it. The downtown is a zoo scene in July and August, with increasingly large cruise ships disgorging way too many people.
follow-up question on Downeast
The coast is perforated with lots of coves, inlets, etc. At first glance it looks like it has to be protected from anything but the tide - but that tide is legendary. What advice would you give to someone wanting to paddle, say, the coves around Cobscook State Park? When we camped there the current was imperceptible, but one night we went to bed with the cove or lake full, the next morning it was almost empty.
Wiki says that tide is 24 - 28 feet. But that state park is well inside a lot of layers, so close around the park may be insulated from the most dramatic effects aside from the disappearing act for the water.
But - a quick look at the map shows that across from the park, the passage by Mahar Point, is clearly labeled as having a reversing falls. That means that the flow totally reverses at each change, and based on my experience with another falls in Maine it is no place for any but a very good, strong paddler.
There are other potential skinnier spots. I wouldn't be surprised if the passage between Leighton and Denbow Points gets nasty at the height of the tidal flow. The passage inside of Moose Island may have few if any calm moments.
Being highly attentive to slack tide, and/or tolerating some portage, may be involved in getting through all those onion layers.
Cobscook State Park
has an all tide launch ramp just outside its border. No worries about launching in muck.
24 feet is normal range. Beautiful place to camp and kayak. Dennys and Whiting Bay are relatively sheltered.
What you want to plan for very very carefully is running the Cobscook Reversing Falls just west of Falls Island.
I have done it with other kayakers and we studied the falls for two days at various tides. The current runs upwards of 15 knots with souse holes and strong eddy lines. There is a slack period of ten minutes. Dont dally.
Again the most beautiful park I have camped in. We go with the MITA staff each fall for a campout.
ah, thank you Celia
We’d heard of reversing falls but didn’t get to see it last time. But that was one of my concerns, just getting flushed out at the wrong time.
Beech Hill Pond
We will be on Beech Hill Pond. Thanks, for the insights. Yes, I won’t put Mom on the ocean. Another possible area was Blue Hill. Anyone know about that area? Has anyone rented from the Activity Shop in Blue Hill?
Why would you want to do that?
Its over an hour from your rental location each way.
You have to go through Ellsworth and that is the main shopping hub for non tourists in that area… Have fun negotiating traffic.
You'll be close enough to day trip Acadia from Beech Hill Pond. It is very beautiful so I think definitely worth the trip on a couple of days in your week. Some random thoughts:
Bar Harbor the town is beautiful, but can be very crowded, so personally I wouldn't spend too much time there.
On the east side of the island I'd drive my mom up to the summit of Cadillac Mtn to look around, as well as to the Park Loop Road around the area of Thunder Hole, the Ocean Path and Otter Cliff. This area can be beautiful at any time, but can be magic in the evening when crowds dissipate and the light gets warm, and even to watch the moon rise over the water. I'd also take mom for lunch at the Jordan Pond House, they have a good menu and you can eat outside with the pond/mountain view - a fantastic spot!
On the west side of the island, which is quieter, I'd be sure to check out Echo Lake and Long Pond if paddling. Be sure to look around the town of Southwest harbor - the biggest town on that side of the island, and not as congested as Bar Harbor. You can get a nice local Maine shellfish meal - mussels and lobster - in Southwest Harbor on the water at a lobster pound (Beal's off Clark Pt Road) or a little further south in Bernard at Thurston's. The Seawall area there is nice and the Bass Harbor Head lighthouse is a lovely spot as well.
The Blue Hill area is certainly very nice too, but if I had to pick one, I'd be going to Acadia, no contest.
Thank you very much
Sure... to my eye this area is as pretty as any in the country, I think you will have a great time. One last thing - if you haven't been there, the weather can be... variable.
You might have a land breeze and some hot weather come through and a high temp of 95 and be thinking "man, this humidity is stifling!" ...and you might have a sea breeze and some cool weather come through and a high in the low 60s (maybe even some fog) and be thinking "this is July? I wish I brought something warmer!" So make sure mom at least has a sweater or a jacket along so you don't need to rush back into the car... the outdoors is glorious here so you want to be able to linger comfortably and just take it all in.